Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Back in Action

After being locked in the ice of the Chukchi Sea and Bering Straights, we are finally back into the Bering Sea, not far from Nome, Alaska. The good news is that there were actually birds seen today including a few groups of Black Guillemots and Common Eiders. The bad news is that the ice has formed all the way to the south of St. Lawrence Island, and is quickly expanding, so I may be surveying in ice for a while longer. My hope is that the ice forces the alcids to congregate in big flocks to the south of us.

I have a short list of the birds I would like to see before returning to the mainland, and here it is:
- Parakeet Aukelt, quite possible when we get back into the alcids
- Short-tailed Albatross, we have some stations between the Aleutians and St. Paul Island, so there is a possibility.
- Emperor Goose, should get this one when we disembark in Dutch Harbor
- Rock Sandpiper, I hear this is a given in Dutch Harbor
- Whiskered Auklet, will be very difficult, with my only chance being on the return to Dutch Harbor. They will have to be very close to the boat to rule out Crested Aukelt, especially in winter.

Even if I just see the Parakeet Auklet, Emperor Goose and Rock Sandpiper, I will be a happy camper.

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